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Melvin K., 89, of Tenafly, NJ, passed away Sunday afternoon surrounded by his loving family, after a losing battle with severe pneumonia. An irrepressible optimist whose smile and love of life won over everyone he met, he was extraordinarily compassionate, kind and generous. Mel was a devoted husband, father, friend and neighbor and the beloved patriarch of a large extended family that looked to him for guidance and wisdom. He was born Oct. 27, 1922, in Brooklyn, the fourth of five children of Harry N. Kaplan and Ida Schrier Kaplan, and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. He earned an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College, which later honored him as a distinguished alumnus, and an MBA from NYU. After working as a securities analyst, he became a stockbroker and Vice President at Oppenheimer & Co., retiring in 1988. Mel found the greatest pleasures of his life in a second career as an abstract artist, working at home and at the Art Center of Northern New Jersey, where he also served as treasurer and president. Under the encouraging eye of artist Bruce Dorfman from the Art Students League, Mel became a prolific painter and printmaker whose works won multiple awards, were exhibited in one-man and group shows and hang in homes from San Francisco to Scotland. He is survived by his devoted wife of 56 years (and friend of 76 years), Doris Jaffe Allen, of Tenafly; his daughter Jane E. Allen, of Los Angeles; his daughter Claudia H. Allen (Philip C. Stahl), of Chicago; his two adored and adoring grandchildren, Benjamin Rochus Stahl and Isabel Alexandra Stahl, of Chicago; beloved nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and a great-grandnephew. Funeral services at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Gutterman Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors, 402 Park Street, Hackensack, NJ, 07671, with a graveside service to follow at Mount Ararat Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Brooklyn College Foundation, 2900 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11201, and designated for the School of Visual and Performing Arts Fund.
Published in The Record/Herald News on Sept. 18, 2012